By Bernie McGuire
Bathgate’s Joseph Bryce is toasting a second straight Scottish amateur golf success following his three-shot victory in capturing the 21st anniversary Battle Trophy at Crail Golfing Society.
Bryce, 21 stormed through the field with Easter Sunday rounds of 66 and 68 to win with a 12-under par 276 tally on the Gil Hanse designed Craighead Links course at golf’s seventh oldest club.
Bryce had earlier posted rounds of 73 and 69 and capped his closing round with a bogey-effort of four birdies, including back-to-back birdies at the ninth and 10th holes.
The win comes just a week after Bryce shot a final round 64 to win the Craigmillar Park Open and with this second success keeping Bryce atop of the 2019 Scottish Amateur Order of Merit.
“It’s been an amazing two weeks winning last Sunday at Craigmillar Park where I work in pro shop and now winning the Battle Trophy here at Crail,” he said.
“The key has been my putting as I am putting really well while my short-game is also very good, and the key these four rounds at Crail was keeping out of trouble and I managed to do that.”
It is the first occasion Bryce has teed-up in the Battle Trophy and an event won in the past by fellow Scots Grant Forrest (2015) and Connor Syme (2016), and with both now full-time on the European Tour.
Bryce’s win also is a double Bathgate Club connection at Crail with former European Ryder Cup Captain, Bernard Gallacher having been afforded life membership at Crail.
However, even with back-to-back victories Bryce is uncertain where to play next even thouhg he would qualify for next fortnight’s Lytham Trophy.
“I’m too sure what I am going to do and I will have to discuss it with Craigmillar Park if I can get the time off,” he said.
“As for any thoughts of Walker Cup, I do think it’s a bit too early in my career so we’ll just wait and see what transpires.”
Though one thing is certain for Bryce is that he will be returning to Crail for the historic July 30th to August 3rd Scottish Amateur title being played also on the Craighead Links course for a first time.
“I did play a social round some time ago here on the Craighhead Links and I liked what I saw very much as it seem to suit my game,” he said.
“The thing is also that winning last week at Craigmillar was on a totally different golf course than here at Crail, and while Craigmillar Park can be very tricky the Craighhead course tests every part of your game.
“And now having won the Battle Trophy I am looking forward now very much to coming back at the end of July for the Scottish Amateur.”
Fellow Scot George Burns, and a member at Crail, posted a final round 69 to finish runner-up with a nine-under par tally.